Optical Imaging and Brain Science Medical Discovery Team Adds Dr. Gordon Smith

MINNEAPOLIS/ST.PAUL (August 21, 2017)The University of Minnesota Medical School today announced Gordon Smith, Ph.D., will join the team as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience focused on Imaging across Multiple Scales of Neuronal Organization: Circuit Based Approaches to Brain Function. He joins the University of Minnesota from the renowned Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience and is known for his work investigating the structure and function of neural networks in the developing visual cortex. Using in vivo multiphoton imaging, Dr. Smith recently demonstrated that populations of neurons rapidly change the structure of their correlated activity following eye-opening to increase the amount of information present in the network and enhance stimulus discrimination.  

The MDT focused on Optical Imaging and Brain Science looks to center on the development and application of cutting edge, innovative technologies, such as in vivo multiphoton based microscopy for imaging neuronal activity and dynamics. By leveraging the technological expertise, he will seek to develop and implement novel optical approaches to measure and manipulate neural activity in the developing cortex, with the goal of understanding how large-scale correlated activity in the early cortex is generated and its role in patterning mature circuits.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Smith’s talents as part of our team at the University of Minnesota,” said Brooks Jackson, Dean of the Medical School and Vice President for the Health Sciences. “As part of the MDT, Dr. Smith will continue to investigate the early development of visual cortical circuits, focusing on the role of spontaneously-generated neural activity in patterning cortical circuits. This work will provide a better understanding of early brain development and how it relates to the functional properties of the mature system.”

Dr. Smith holds a B.S. in Biology from Duke University and earned a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from MIT.  He has planned collaborations with recently hired MDT Professor Dr. Prakash Kara centered on developing and applying new tools and technologies for revolutionizing our understanding of the brain.

In 2014, with the support of Governor Dayton and legislature, Medical Discovery Teams (MDT) were created to support the Medical School's efforts to increase national prominence by attracting and retaining world-class faculty. As well as, achieve the state's goals of improving patient and population health, lowering costs, and improving health care experiences. Each interdisciplinary team focuses on solving complex health problems, in collaboration with current University of Minnesota faculty working in the areas of Addiction, Biology of Aging, Optical Imaging and Brain Science and Rural & American Indian Health Disparities.

Smith will join the University of Minnesota in Summer 2017.